Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike's Remnants Felt Strongly Here

(Photo Courtesy of Cincinnati Enquirer - Anna Listerman)

Would you believe substantial remnants of Hurricane Ike made it all they way up into the greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area?

I woke up Sunday morning thinking it was quite windy. By midday, as my husband was watching the Cincinnati football game, the local channel kept losing their signal due to high wind. Within about an hour, it went from high winds to really intense, sustained winds. There were intermittent clouds and sun, but no rain, no storm warnings, just this crazy, continuous gusting wind that didn’t let up for more than three hours. (We later learned they were 75 mph.) Our electricity went off at 2:00 pm. The winds continued. These were the hardest sustained winds we’ve ever experienced and we began to see shingles from our roof tumbling into the back yard. Then we started praying and tried not to worry about the old, large trees surrounding our house that were taking quite a beating. There were huge limbs and branches everywhere.

Around 6:00 or so, things seemed to start settling down. We went outside to find we had lost a fair number of roof shingles, and a number of our landscape plants were mangled, but minimal damage considering what could have been. By now, we were hearing sirens continually from fire trucks, police, paramedics, etc. all throughout the evening into the overnight hours. We went to bed late still with no power, not having any inkling of how far-reaching the outage was.


Woke up Monday still without electricity. Both Tom and I took a vacation day. We placed a call first thing to a contractor for our roof damage and started cleaning up some of the mess in our yard. We were still working in the yard (as were many around us) Monday afternoon when our next door neighbor returned home from work. He told us the power outage was enormous, and had affected 90% of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. There were trees and power lines down everywhere. The energy company had restored power at that time to 200,000 people, but there were still a vast number of people without. Apparently our linemen had headed to Texas to assist with Hurricane Ike, leaving very few to service our area.


Our neighbor also told us all the local groceries were without power, that Kroger was rationing ice to two bags per person and the police were stationed in those areas. There were long lines at the gas stations, but most weren’t working because the pumps were electronic. I was stunned. In my recollection, nothing like this has ever happened here.
Our energy company had called in crews from North and South Carolina to help in getting power restored. Our neighbor said news reports were estimating it would be the end of the week before all power in our area was fully restored. We began to consider how blessed we were. The weather after the windstorm was unseasonably cool and breezy, unlike the heat and humidity we had just a few days ago. This was no doubt a huge help.


Despite feeling blessed, I must admit I did get a bit heartsick about the food I had to throw away from the fridge and freezer Monday night. (I had just done our grocery shopping on Saturday.) The outage had extended beyond the point where the food was safe, and trash was to be picked up the next morning.
I was washing dishes by candlelight just before 9:00 pm, when our power was restored. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated it more. I kept walking through my house just thanking the Lord. Then we turned on the news. Talk about eye-opening. It confirmed everything our neighbor had told us, and then some. Seeing there were still over 500,000 people without power and images of severe damage (trees into homes, telephone poles down, fires, water main breaks, etc.), my loss of groceries and roof shingles was nothing in comparison. We were able to go to bed Monday night with our electricity restored. Many people on our bus and at our workplace yesterday were still without. Even in downtown Cincinnati, I saw two buildings with shattered windows and severely damaged revolving doors.


I feel both blessed and very sympathetic to those who don’t yet have electricity. (As of now, approximately 350,000.) Many of the local fitness centers and the YMCA branches have opened their shower facilities to the general public, for those who don't have friends or relatives with power. Local hotels that are operational are offering rooms at discounted rates, as well. One of our local ministries has been passing out free bags of ice by the thousands and nearby churches are providing dinners for those in need.


I don’t begin to compare this to the devastation in Texas. Doesn’t even come close. The local weather forecasters say this was a highly irregular phenomenon for our area that a took everyone by surprise. Even so, I discovered just how ill-prepared I was for something like this. I had allowed my cell phone battery to get very low so when the power went out, I hardly had any charge with which to call or hear from anyone. I had only one working flashlight in my house, no batteries and very little in the way of non-refrigerated, ready-to-eat food. I will definitely be a little better prepared should this type of thing ever happen again. Hope you will take this as a loving reminder to make sure you, too are prepared in the event of an unexpected emergency or power outage.


Some additional images of damage to our area…

(Photograph courtesy of Cincinnati Enquirer - Charles Kapiotis)


(Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Enquirer - Brock Heterington)

(Photos courtesy of Cincinnati Enquirer - Scott Martini)


(Photo courtesy of wcpo.com - dmrsrn)

Please continue to pray with me for those everywhere who sustained damage, but especially those in Texas who received the brunt of Hurricane Ike’s wrath. Please also pray for the service men working around the clock to repair lines and restore power.

16 comments:

alihsee said...

Thank God that you were kept safe in the midst of the storm. I am thinking of you over there!

Joyful said...

Oh my goodness. Glad the Lord kept you safe. Even in Canada here we experienced a 'taste' of Ike with high winds and power outage, but of course nothing to this extent.

Praying for you,
Joy

12-arrows said...

Oh my goodness and you weren't even in the eye of the storm. Sometimes it takes those kinds of catastrophes to remind us of the vast blessings we live each day. Our nation sure has bit hit, in many different areas, with some major storms. One never knows the depth of the cut until you live through it, like you. Praying you will be a blessing to someone in your area today.

Krista said...

Wow! I am glad that God put a hedge of protection around you all! What devastation Ike left in its path!

Count your blessings,
Krista

Debra said...

Tracy,

Bless your sweet heart! I have lived through 2 of these devastating hurricanes (living on the east coast of FL)! We were without electricity for 3 weeks and stood in line after line waiting for supplies.

I say that because my post today on WFW is a prayer post devoted to those who are hurting and in need. I am praying and so are so many of your brothers and sisters in Christ. May you feel encouraged and edified to know this.

Blessings to you today, sweet sister. May you feel the Lord sustaining you in the days ahead.

e-Mom said...

Oh.my.gosh. Thanks for posting the photos. We live in earthquake country (not hurricane country), and we don't see things like that around here. :~D

LynnSC said...

I am so thankful that things weren't worse for you guys. We were affected by hurricane Hugo in 1989... power was out for at least a week. It really makes you stop and think about how blessed we really are.

Thanks for sharing the pictures too. It really makes it hit home.
Lynn

Susan said...

Hey Tracy,

I'm just AMAZED at the damage done, after Ike had been on the ground for so long!!!

Sorry about your damage. We still have a long way to go after Gustav.

Been thinking about you lately~

Amydeanne said...

wow! praying for everyone effected by Ike!

Becky said...

So thankful that you were kept safe and sound. It's amazing the scope of the devistation IKE left in it's path.

I was reading somewhere the other day that everyone should have a basic 'power outage' supply of easy to fix foods and things on hand no matter where they live...and that it wouldn't hurt to have a 'kit' in the trunk of every car, too, in case they were caught out and about somewhere.

Tricia said...

I am so thankful that you are safe and had minimal damage to your home and property...

Blessings!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Storms hit hard, especially when we're unprepared. After living through Hurricane Floyd in '99, I can appreciate what everyone has experienced in the past week. Until you've lived it, you can't fully understand the depth of problems a storm like this creates.

I'm so glad you're OK and that power has been restored to your home. Thanks for keeping us posted.

peace~elaine

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Oh Tracy!
I am so glad you are okay... and that your power came back on inspite of the number of outages...
I'm so grateful you are OKAY!!!
Those pictures are awful. I didn't know where you lived... Oh bless your hearts.
When I was at the dentist today they were talking about the damage Ike did in Kentucky.
Thank God you're safe, and Lord be with those who were not so fortunate.
Love
Lea
<*)))><

Laurie Ann said...

Praise God for your safety in the storm and please know I'm praying as you requested. The power of the storms are just so amazing...it would be unbelievable if we didn't see it ourselves, wouldn't it? We experienced what you got of Ike from Katrina. While our loss was nothing compared to the coast, it was substantial and worth praying over. It's a humbling thing to be standing out in 75-80 mph winds and see your roof shingles going by like it's just another day in the park. Very humbling. Praying...

Tiffany Stuart said...

Wow, this is amazing that the storm continued with such force. I am sorry that so many are affected. Sorry you lost all your food too. I understand not being prepared for a power outage. I need to prepare in case we get heavy snow this year. Colorado Springs usually doesn't get too much. But enough to stop life's activities for a day or so.

Hope the power is restored to all soon.

God bless you,
Tiffany

DeeDee said...

wow....

so glad you are safe.
I did not know that this kind of damage was continuing that far away from the coast.

Blessings to you!
DeeDee